BJP today elected Himanta Biswa Sarma, once an erstwhile Congress face, as its chief minister in Assam, and Suvendu Adhikari, who trounced Mamata Banerjee from Nandigram in the Bengal Assembly elections, as the Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.
The signal was clear — that the saffron camp has no problem in rewarding migrants from other parties if they worked hard and performed suitably, especially in traditionally non-BJP states.
While Himanta has been able to play the role of Chanakya to the BJP and ensured its triumph in the north-eastern states, Suvendu, as he said in his acceptance speech today, has ensured that Mamata Banerjee has become the first chief minister in the history of electoral politics in West Bengal to take up the reins of the state despite losing the Assembly elections.
Putting Suvendu in the prime seat, BJP has projected him as the face of party in Bengal with an eye on the 2026 Assembly elections.
With the BJP improving its 2016 performance of 3 Assembly seats and winning 77 seats in 2021, a jump of more than 25 times, it might be said that voters in no state have ever given a party with a negligible count of 3 seats clear majority mark at one go, in one election. Time is crucial in taking the BJP beyond the 200-mark in Bengal. It’s a state, which has an abysmal population of below-poverty line families, who are easy to lure with free foodgrain at doorstep and an array of populist measures, basically doles, but nothing to boast of in the name of industry and actual development.
Taking it up the Assembly seat count by 25 times is a daunting task by itself. So, clearly setting its 2026 goal high and clear, the BJP high command has left nothing to ambiguity and entrusted Suvendu with the grave yet possible task.
All this came on a day when Sonia Gandhi took note of the debacle the Congress faced in the Assembly elections and set a goal of putting the Congress house in order.